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How To Make Gnocchi Step By Step Guide

Updated on August 28, 2012


For those of you who haven't experienced the wonderful Italian pasta called gnocchi, stay tuned. I'll tell you about some of my favorite gnocchi recipes and also demonstrate with a step by step guide how easy it is to make.

Gnocchi pasta is basically a thick, soft, dumpling type of pasta. You can make gnocchi from many different things. Semolina flour or unbleached flour makes a great gnocchi while potatoes, ricotta, spinach and even sweet potatoes make other kinds of fabulous gnocchi.

You can make gnocchi soups or you can create various and sundry sauces to go with your homemade or store-bought gnocchi such as a light pesto sauce, a traditional tomato sauce or an Alfredo sauce. 

Are you seeing where I'm going with this? Gnocchi is one of the most versatile pastas and although it is technically a pasta, it is far easier than other pasta doughs to make from scratch.

I decided to demonstrate with my recipe for sweet potato gnocchi to illustrate how colorful vegetable gnocchi can be. You can also buy vacuum-sealed gnocchi in the pasta aisle at the supermarket or find it premade in the refrigerator section.

Ricotta Gnocchi
Ricotta Gnocchi | Source


  • Gnocchi is meant to be eaten as an entrée as a substitute for pasta noodles
  • The word gnocchi is derived from the Italian word "nocchio" meaning a "knot of wood" (which kind of describes its shape)
  • Since Roman times, gnocchi has been enjoyed on the European continent
  • Innovations such as potato gnocchi, spinach gnocchi, ricotta gnocchi, sweet potato gnocchi, etc. are relatively new and have been tweaked by many countries to arrive at the creative gnocchi recipes today
  • There are many more possibilities when it comes to gnocchi - let creativity be your guide when creating your own gnocchi

Bake sweet potatoes at 35 degrees
Bake sweet potatoes at 35 degrees
Cool, skin and mash or put through ricer
Cool, skin and mash or put through ricer
Combine potato, garlic, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg
Combine potato, garlic, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg
Add in flour and stir to form a soft dough - add more flour if necessary if too sticky
Add in flour and stir to form a soft dough - add more flour if necessary if too sticky
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface
Divide dough into 4 or so pieces and roll into long ropes
Divide dough into 4 or so pieces and roll into long ropes
Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place on lightly floured cookie sheet
Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place on lightly floured cookie sheet



  • 16 ounces sweet potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, diced or dried
  • Salt to taste (up to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of cinnamon if desired
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 cups unbleached flour (more as necessary)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes in their skins for about 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven, let cool, then peel and mash with a fork. Alternatively, you can run through a food mill or ricer.
  2. Combine potatoes, garlic, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add in flour. You should have a soft dough (add more flour if the dough is too sticky).
  3. Turn out the gnocchi dough on a floured surface and roll parts of the dough out one piece at a time into long, thin ropes. Cut the gnocchi into 1 inch sections. (You can use a gnocchi tool or a gnocchi board to add "character" and creases to the gnocchi at this point as well).
  4. Set the gnocchi individually on a lightly floured jelly roll pan for cooking as you work. You can also freeze them at this point as well. Just freeze for an hour or so, remove from the trays and pop them into freezer bags for a great quick and easy meal another time.


  • When cooking your homemade gnocchi, bring a large pot of water with a dash of salt to a simmering boil.
  • Drop the pieces into the boiling water and allow them to cook until they float to the surface.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon. Keep warm on a serving plate.
  • Sweet potato gnocchi is great with butter or a light cream sauce.

TIP: Substitute butternut squash for the sweet potato or even use yams.

***This recipe was based on a recipe I found on though I tweaked it to my preferences.

Be sure and check out the video as well below which gives you a visual idea of how you put this quick and easy recipe together.

You Tube Video How To Make Gnocchi by Audrey Kirchner


To illustrate further the beauty of using gnocchi, here's another of my favorite gnocchi recipes. In this case, you can either use homemade gnocchi of any kind (like spinach or sweet potato, ricotta or potato) or buy store-bought gnocchi. Either way, this is a fabulously easy and delicious Italian dish.

Pesto with Shrimp and Asparagus Gnocchi



  • 16 ounce package of vacuum packed gnocchi
  • 4 cups of sliced asparagus (about 1/2-1 inch pieces)
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp or prawns coarsely chopped (substitute small shrimp)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (Reggiano cheese or other similar)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped or minced garlic (or dried garlic)
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Cooking spray - optional


  1. Bring water in large pot to boil. Add gnocchi and cook according to directions on package. If using fresh, homemade gnocchi, place in boiling water and boil until pieces float to the top, remove with slotted spoon and set aside to keep warm. When ready to mix ingredients, place in a large bowl.
  1. Add asparagus and shrimp to large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook 5 minutes or so until shrimp are cooked through. Drain. Or add asparagus and shrimp to boiling water used for cooking gnocchi and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add the shrimp and asparagus to gnocchi in large bowl.
  3. Combine basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic and water in a food processor and process until smooth. Drizzle olive oil into the food chute with the processor running and process until well blended.
  4. Toss basil mixture with the gnocchi and shrimp. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and serve.

This recipe serves 4 and is an adaptation from a recipe on A fabulous substitution for store-bought gnocchi here is spinach gnocchi or the sweet potato gnocchi though any gnocchi will do.

Serve this fantastic Italian dinner with a green salad, a crusty loaf of Italian bread and a crisp white wine.

How To Make Ricotta Gnocchi


As you can see, there are many innovative recipes out there for gnocchi. Some great places to start looking for gnocchi recipes are the Internet and also on YouTube.

Another great source for gnocchi recipes is just about any Italian cookbook of merit. You can find these in abundance on or even new or slightly handled on eBay. Don't forget your local library either for loads of Italian recipes which will include wonderful ideas for making homemade gnocchi and sauces.

As pastas go, I enjoy making gnocchi because it is less labor intensive than making regular pasta noodles. It can also be a great family event or an interesting dinner party activity. Everyone can participate in creating the gnocchi and certainly in the cooking and sauce preparation.

If you have more great gnocchi recipes in your culinary toolbox, please share them with us here. I'm always looking for new gnocchi recipes!

How to Make Spinach Gnocchi


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for stopping by, Sherry~

    • SherryDigital profile image

      Sherry Duffy 

      9 years ago from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR

      Oooh! This is a great guide! I can't wait to try to make gnocchi without gluten!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 

      9 years ago from Essex, UK

      An informative and well written and illustrated hub Audrey, which I am including (with links to others of yours) as one of my ten favourite hubs in a category review of Italian Cuisine. This review has just been published online at HubPages. Voted up.

    • Kenny Baldwin profile image

      Kenny Baldwin 

      10 years ago from Provo, Utah

      that pesto asparagus gnocchi recipe is great! I made gnocchi just the other day and I still have half the dough in a ball in the fridge that I wasn't sure what to do with. Thanks!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks KKG~! It really is great.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What great recipes. I definitely have to try the sweet potato one. Rated up and awesome. Great information.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Midlife Magic! I totally agree.....we are having this for dinner tomorrow night. I freeze some so I always have it on hand for a quick fix!

    • Midlife Magic profile image

      Midlife Magic 

      10 years ago from Canada

      Great hub! The home made version is just that much better than the ones that you buy. When you taste it, it is worth the work and time it takes to make it.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Glad you liked, Mimi - It's a fun thing to do!

    • Mimi721wis profile image


      10 years ago

      I had never heard of Gnocchi. I plan to try this.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Prasetio - Thanks so much for the vote - and for the read most of all!

      Om - Glad to help out!! It really is an easy thing to make (relatively speaking) if you love to cook like I do. Mine aren't as pretty so need to definitely splurge and buy yet another gadget....the gnocchi tool! Sounds fantastic on the cooking classes though...I wish I had the time to go to some!!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      10 years ago

      I'm so glad you wrote about this, Audrey. Last month, I decided to take a cooking class just for fun and the gnocchi class was one of my first options. Too bad the class was full so I took the South Indian cooking class instead. And now a month later, you wrote this super cool hub about gnocchi! What a coincidence. Bookmarked and rated AWESOME! :)

    • prasetio30 profile image


      10 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Well done, Audrey. I had never knew about this food before. But from this hub, I learn a lot. Thanks for share with us. My vote always for you.


    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Sharyn - Will have to check out your pierogi - I've never made those!! Always wanting to try something else!!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      10 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      This is great with so much detailed information. Funny that I just posted hub yesterday on pierogi.

      Nice Job!!!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Simone! Glad you is a lot of fun to make!!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      10 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, akirchner! You're really outdone yourself! I mean, whoah!!! What an awesome Hub!!! The photos you've taken are awesome- and video too! My stars. The recipes and your written instructions are stellar as well. I'm so hungry now!! Voted up!!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      BJ - Great addition to the hub! I cannot pronounce it correctly so go with the pinocchio version myself and just call it son corrects me every time. I just don't like sounding so nasal.

      But you are correct in your pronunciation and as so often happens to me with words like shiraz or syrah or helps to have an expert on board guiding me along.

      Bob hit himself in the forehead as in "I could have had a V8) when I asked if I could have some of that their SHEERZ. That's what happens when you take a city girl and slap her into the country!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      10 years ago from south Florida

      It was always difficult for me to order gnocchi in an Italian restaurant because I didn't gknow how to pronounce the word, let alone spell it.

      Gnowhere did I find gnowledgeable people who gnew the answer. Gnoble they might be but gnervous about the word.

      Finally I learned it's pronounced "nyo kee," Gnow my cup of gnowledge runneth over. Thanks for the great nyo kee recipes and nyo kee videos.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Katie - hope they enjoy it - it's a fun project of pasta!

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      Awesome, another great cooking hub my daughters will love and one I will as well teaching them yet another fine art of making great pasta and Gnocchi is on our to learn list. Thanks for the great cooking tips and recipe for a step by step guide to making gnocchi, yummy! :) Katie

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Sarclair....You found me out! Hope you like it!! I love all different kinds of gnocchi - this batch I put into the freezer for safe keeping for another night but plan on doing some spinach and some potato soon too as we have company coming. It'll be a nice addition to soups or just a quick meal! Glad you liked the hub.

    • sarclair profile image


      10 years ago

      I have never heard of gnocch. I will try it, I hope it comes out well. It looks like you love cooking. This is a beautiful hub. Voted up

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Darski - I love to cook so it seems that as long as I'm making dinner anyhow, I should put it together for a hub, right? I had a lot of fun!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      10 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Outstanding hub audrey, this is a great way to learn how to cook, we are so lucky to live in the age of video and a great topic as well. Love your style...rate up love & peace darski


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